The University of Kentucky has announced upcoming renovations to Rupp Arena, including chair-back seating in the upper level and new club areas.
As announced on Friday, a variety of improvements are taking shape for Rupp Arena. Over the coming years, the venue will see many of its bleacher seats in the upper level swapped out in favor of chair-back seating. The seating capacity at Rupp Arena will be reduced to about 20,500, but the improvements could result in a more comfortable experience. In addition, plans have been announced for new club areas in the venue.
“Rupp Arena has long been hallowed ground, home to the greatest tradition in college basketball and the best fans in the world,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are in the midst of an effort to make one of the most special venues in all of sports even better with chair-back seating in the upper level and new club areas, answering feedback we have heard often from our fans. We are excited share preliminary details about these upgrades and look forward to providing more information as we move forward.”
Chair-back seating in the upper-level sideline will be installed in sections 211-217 and 228-234 through a project that will be completed in the coming seasons. This project is being undertaken in response to years of feedback from fans asking for more comfortable seating in the upper level. Construction will begin after the upcoming 2018-19 season, meaning season ticket locations will not be affected this season. A new seat selection process for all upper-level season ticket holders will begin with the 2019-2020 season.
In addition to new chair-back seating in the upper level, the renovation will bring new club areas to Rupp Arena for the first time. Fans in these new clubs will be able to enjoy first-class amenities before, during and after games. These new clubs are crucial to providing the funds necessary for both the new lease agreement and the ongoing renovation of Rupp Arena.
Two clubs available to season ticket holders will open for the 2019-20 season, with another to follow in 2020-21. Club membership does not include a ticketed seat and club members may have seats throughout Rupp Arena. Season ticket holders may purchase club memberships to accompany their season ticket package. Club membership pricing and amenities will be announced as soon as details are finalized, and sales will begin shortly thereafter. Memberships will initially be offered to season ticket holders based on K Fund priority ranking.
Rupp Arena originally opened in 1976, and has hosted Kentucky men’s basketball throughout its history.